A different type of vacation on a budget

So much has changed since the days people used to walk into travel agents and see what kind of vacation they could get for their money on their week or two weeks off work. Back then, you were asked to think about your budget, and the agent would show you a bunch of vacation options slightly above it. You’d be offered to choose from a list of optional add-ins that would take a half hour to read through: do you want self-catering, half board or full board? Do you want a transfer to your hotel? Will you be hiring a car? Would you like a snazzy SUV or an old-looking sedan? What about a two-day pass to the local theme park? Make that a three-day pass… and so on.

These days the traveler has much more control over booking their travel – they know what to expect and quickly skip through webpages leaving the relevant boxes unchecked. There is, however, still a feeling that travel has to be expensive. This is often down to a reluctance to try out new things for the first time. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Let’s look at some real-life examples. The first one is a week in New York City. Sounds expensive already, right? First of all, it’s a city break, not a week in the mountains hiking, so you’re going to need to get some respectable baggage from http://www.luggageontour.com/. Pack a few different outfits and a tablet or notebook from which you can access the internet. Take a look at Skyscanner to find the best price for your flight. If you’re traveling far, you might be able to find a cheaper flight into somewhere nearby – Newark or even Philadelphia, and then hop on the train into Union Station. You can check the ticket price for the trains at Amtrak’s website.

Now you’re probably going to assume that Manhattan can’t be done on a budget and that you’re going to have to stay in Brooklyn or even worse, Hoboken. Forget about it. Download the AirBnB app, get yourself a profile and find yourself a short-time rental in Lower Manhattan or the LES, depending on what kind of action you’re looking for. People all over Manhattan are sub-sub-letting their rooms (which may or may not be legal – you might need to ask) in order to offset their exorbitant New York rents. Yet because there are so many people doing this, the one who really wins is you. Manhattan is an extreme example of this but it can also be seen to a large extent in other major cities – Chicago, London, Tokyo, Des Moines and so on. With having spent so little on your flight and accommodation, and not having to pay for cab rides or put up with long journeys on the subway, you now have a little more money in your pocket to enjoy New York City. And remember, there is a guide to every major city’s free attractions. There are so many places you could go and not even have to spend a dime.

If you want to pack in a variety of exotic destinations, you could look at something like Eurail or Interrailwhich can allow you to travel cheaply by train between European cities. For accommodation you’ve got AirBnB, but perhaps the best budget travel can be had in Eastern Europe. When you arrive in a city like Prague, it’s easy to find people who are willing to let you rent a room in their house for very little money. Oftentimes you may befriend someone who then lets you stay for free. Getting around the city can be done by bike for free and eating out is cheap. Your train ticket could take you onward to more gems such as Budapest, Vienna, Dubrovnik and Bydgoszcz. When you’re there, simply repeat what you did in Prague.

If you really want to see the world on a budget, search for Round The World Flights – they are probably not as expensive as you think. Before you know it you could be jetting off to Rome, Moscow, Singapore and Ulsan, and with enough left in your pocket to enjoy the local food and do a spot of shopping.

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